Dutch primary school kids booked "little to no progress" during school closure
Primary school kids in the Netherlands made "little to no progress" while distance learning in the months during which the schools were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to research by Oxford University into pupils' test results at approximately 15 percent of Dutch primary schools. Children with low-educated parents struggled the most, the researchers concluded, the Volkskrant reports.
The researchers looked at the results of the standardized Cito tests for pupils in groups 4 to 7. These tests measure progress in mathematics, spelling and reading twice a year. Coincidentally, the tests were taken exactly before and after the schools closed this year.
Pupils on average booked about 20 percent less progress this year than in the previous years, the researchers found. Because the pandemic closed schools for about 20 percent of the school year, for eight weeks, the researchers concluded that in many schools, pupils "in fact made little or no progress during the time they were taught at home".
Children with low-educated parents suffered the biggest delays, the researchers found. "And that is very worrying," Oxford sociologist Mark Verhagen said to the newspaper. "These students normally make relatively good progress. Dutch schools are good at working away arrears. That was temporarily halted."
The researchers did not specifically look into why pupils fell behind while distance learning, but they do have some ideas. "I think it mainly has to do with the environment in which children had to learn," Verhagen said. "They were suddenly not at school with a trained teacher, but at the kitchen table with parents who had to work themselves." Pupils may also had more trouble concentrating in the Cito test after being home for so long, he said.
The Education Inspectorate would not comment on this study to the Volkskrant, saying that it will present its own figures on learning arrears during the lockdown next year. More schools will be analyzed in the Inspectorate study.